19 October 2016: Wheelock and Judge best choices for commissioner

Full disclosure:  I am chair of the Clear Creek Democrats. I’m also a Courant columnist, 13 years running, and KYGT talk show host for 12. Over those years, I’ve spent considerable time listening to and conversing with citizens across the political spectrum, observing events, and offering perspective on important issues for our community. It’s from that perspective—journalist and citizen commentator—I write this.

This piece isn’t about me nor, in the end, the two individuals about whom I am writing. Rather, it’s about Clear Creek, the home we hold dear, and its direction over the coming decades.

The Clear Creek community is at a juncture, a fork in the road. The choices we make in this election will determine Clear Creek’s long-term trajectory.

The reasons are several and not correlated. The impending Henderson Mine closure is, of course, foremost and immediate. But in the long term, it’s the evolving nature of our societal reality that will have more bearing on our future: Technological advances, population demographics and growth (or lack thereof), economic swings, environmental impacts among them.

Running for public office is risky and can be daunting. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart or thin-skinned. It takes a toll.

I salute each office seeker (with the notable exception of the Republican’s presidential nominee), one of those Teddy Roosevelt said are in the arena “whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again.”

Who we choose as commissioners will play crucial roles in determining and guiding our future. While none of the candidates has final answers, two are best positioned to assume leadership roles right from the get-go: Nancy Judge in District 2 and Randy Wheelock in District 3.

It’s become clear over the course of the campaign Randy and Nancy are the superior choices. Both bring to the table ABCDE: A Biography of Commitment, Depth, and Experience.


  • Value and model public service. Nancy and Randy have long histories of active, committed involvement with the community in a variety of roles. Check out their websites to learn more.
  • Articulate complex issues clearly and incisively, demonstrating depths of knowledge.
  • Have skillsets and practical knowledge of the job requirements, developed through years in their private and public endeavors.
  • Do not need on-the-job training or be on a learning curve. They can begin on Day One.
  • Are not encumbered by ideology but instead operate from a pragmatic philosophy about how to make things work and get things done.
  • Have proactive, positive visions for the community.
  • Are not daunted by the job’s reality or delusional about it being a 9:00-5:00, five-days-with-weekends-off gig.
  • Have the mental toughness, organizational skills, stamina, and communication skills critical to fulfilling their duties.

One other critical attribute sets Randy and Nancy apart: Their sense of presence.

Clear Creek does not need weak leaders who shrug their shoulders and justify and explain away what is being done to us. Instead, Clear Creek needs determined, focused, and articulate advocates undaunted by powerful interests, resolute leaders who will give unwavering voice to Clear Creek concerns and needs.

That’s particularly true when it comes to CDOT and the wealthy resorts that consider Clear Creek a pit-stop on their scenic drives to and fro. Improvements to I-70 will have the greatest impact on Clear Creek but provide the least benefit to our community. Our leaders must have the gravitas to hold the lines of interstate expansion that threaten our environment, economy, and community.

When Ronald Reagan ran for president, he saw not a nation in decline with its best days behind, but an America rising, one poetically he called “Morning in America.” A time of opportunity.

That’s the vision Nancy and Randy have of Clear Creek. Yes, Henderson is going away and tax revenues will decline. Societal forces are impacting Clear Creek as they will. We can’t change those realities, but we can be resolute in laying out a positive course to create our reality rather than being victims of outside forces.

Far and away, Randy Wheelock and Nancy Judge possess the strong leadership skills necessary to help guide Clear Creek through current rough waters while focused on the ultimate goal: a thriving, healthy, sustainable Clear Creek community.

Experience counts. Vision is crucial. Steadfast, resolute leadership is essential.

Your choice matters.

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